UNCDF has been present in Bangladesh since 1982.
Over the past three decades, UNCDF has supported Bangladesh by focusing grant financing initially on local agriculture, and then strengthening decentralization and local service delivery.
Today, UNCDF offers catalytic finance models that unlock public and private resources in “last mile” environments, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.
In the thematic area of Women's Economic Empowerment, UNCDF is leveraging several programmes to support women entrepreneur and women-led SMEs--a model that focuses on driving local economic development through mobilizing local institutions. This includes our recent piloting of a credit guarantee scheme with the Bangladesh Bank to enhance access to finance for women entrepreneurs. This partial guarantee cover commercial banks from losses on loans to women owned businesses and helped unlock new bank loans, many of which were for first-time borrowers. Additionally, by supporting private sector innovations we are advancing digitization and access to finance to women-owned MSMEs. This includes utilizing grants to unlock public and private sector finance to support local governments, social enterprises, cooperatives, SMEs, e-commerce platforms and fintech. Additionally, the Better Than Cash Alliance works with key stakeholders in the garment sector to support the adoption of digital salary payments.
In promoting Inclusive Digital Economies, focuses on closing the digital finance and digital literacy gap, particularly for SMEs. UNCDF recently supported 3.3 million micro-merchants to digitize their operations and supported 10 innovative platforms offering digital payments, alternative credit scoring, micro-insurance, book-keeping, inventory management, business registry, and rural e-commerce through grants. Additionally, UNCDF and the EU have partnered to accelerate the introduction and use of digital payments and digital solutions among 1,000,000 micro merchants in rural Bangladesh. UNCDF provides technical assistance to test and scale up ten dierent business models in digital payments, insurance, record keeping, supply chain, business registration, and credit assessment.
UNCDF also supports Bangladesh in the critical area of climate adaptation. Through UNCDF’s LoGIC Project introduced earmarked grants for locally led climate change adaptation to 72 union parishads in seven climate vulnerable districts. UNCDF invested $3.4 million in 459 climate adaptive schemes to build climate change resilience of 1,176,348 people.